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  1. #1

    Unhappy Anxiety when I run?

    So recently I've decided to start running with my partner, and every time I run for more than a few seconds I get very anxious and feel like my stomach is turning.. Like the feeling when you know something exciting/scary is about to happen. Except I know that there's nothing exciting or scary about to happen. I think this somehow stems from my school days as every time I ran in athletics/cross country events I always felt like this but 10 times worse, and I feel like my brain thinks because I'm running I also need to feel anxious. I've tried concentrating to try and stop feeling this way but it only works for a bit and then the feeling comes back again, and keeps getting worse and worse until I have to stop and walk. I have taken up running a few times before this and I remember having this feeling, but I don't remember it being this bad and making me stop. This is very irritating because I want to exercise but find it almost impossible Anyone experienced this? Or have any suggestions how to fix it? (I know I could just find another form of exercise but my partner enjoys running and I wouldn't have the motivation to do anything else really). Thankyou

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    hi take it easy, I would think that higher heartbeat is the reason you feel anxious. It should be exciting to run. Not everyone have the privilege to run to feel wind in your hair. Try to focus on the pleasure you body gets with running. Focus on your movement , enjoy it, I think you need to work on distraction. YOu said yourself ; my brain thinks ..................reprogram your brain) welcome to the forum
    ''“If you cry because the sun has gone out of your life, your tears will prevent you from seeing the stars.”
    ― Rabindranath Tagore

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Exercising is a great anti-anxiety tool. However, initially it can make anxiety/panic worse. As Dahila said, take it easy. Ease back into running. Try running at a pace slow enough to keep a conversation going.

    When I first started running, I started at 3 days a week with a mild pace and distance. Now I'm at six days a week and four miles a day. You'll get there.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Dahila and Two One nailed it on the head..... Just some additional thoughts.

    Anxiety and Panic is a reaction, so when it sense something it goes into the fight or flight.....

    Well when you run, your body starts to sweat, your heart rate increase, adrenaline starts to flow and the blood flow increase, Guess what? Exactly what a panic attack and the start of anxiety feels like. The body may be misinterpreting the signals. So all you need to do is tell the body otherwise.

    Exactly like the 2 above, stated, you need to tell the body its a pleasurable experience and something to enjoy. The body is "misunderstanding" things......

    Ease back on the running and slowly increase the heart rate, there is no reason to go from a standing heart rate to a athletic heart rate, you dont need to keep up with your partner, slowly increase everything, day by day it will get easier!
    Last edited by Exactice; 04-18-2016 at 02:21 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Out & About :)
    Hi Clare,
    I've been running off and on most of my life. I had a very long break due to deep depression over the last several years, but thankfully I'm back running 10km's here and there. I had to stop taking pills for my Anxiety. I was too sensitive to most of the side effects. I had to find another alternative. I started walking and eventually ended up in a pair of running shoes once more.

    My Experience with Anxiety and Running / Gym / Exercise:

    1. - Self Conscious on a very heightened level.
    This has been a two way streak for me. I either quit all together or I tend to run myself into the ground. Finding the middle ground has taken me years - but I tell it as it relates to anxiety at any rate. WHO"S WATCHING???? WHY AM I WORRIED???? I AM NOT WORTHY???? WHO AM I KIDDING???? WHY AM I FREAKING OUT???? ... and many other thoughts and negative self talk kicking in with that sensation of total dread building with no end.

    This kind of Anxiety relates more to my conditioning based on shame and guilt for not fitting in. Especially when I was younger and more brainwashed than I am now. It's amazing how much we angst over such shallow narrow minded thinking. IMO it's been Media-rized and advertised our entire lives and plays largely into such anxiety.

    2. - Butterflies. I used to get these all the times and probably does not play into it for most people. It did for me. Before every race at school I used to be a tight ball of muscle as I woke that morning as if ready to bolt from the running blocks as soon as my feet touched my bedroom floor. Winning was my copping mechanism for my lack of worth. Butterflies are normal, but not to the extent I had them.

    Srry to go on - I think my point is, until I worked out where my anxiety was coming from, the best thing I found to do with my anxiety was simply ride with it. I still have a very high level of sensitivity. Running outside is a challenge despite being very good at tuning in to my body. I'm so good at tuning in, that once my respiratory lvl is able, I then run the risk of killing myself. My self conscious side can drive me to play such a tune by hiding inside myself (180 - 190 +bpm for extending time) whilst at the same time knowing I am exposed to the views of others whilst running outside. Therefore I avoid running during daylight hours ... unless I am in a good head space for it.

    __________________________________________________ ________

    Again - I go on too much. Just wanted to say that although Exercise presents a challenge regarding anxiety - that although it can heighten it for me, I have also found it to be one of the most supportive methods to handling my anxiety. Form a physical perspective, when I feel my heart racing in a social situation when I am not running, I am much more able to control my breathing and articulate myself. So much so that others think I am a cool cucumber despite my anxiety racing within myself. This aspect to improving myself and anxiety is probably the most beneficial thing I get from exercising.

    It does get better - my heart still race as I get out of my car and enter the gym. I liken the whole process to the key pint of being Consistent with any exercise program. I remind myself that my body and brain will adapt and become more efficient at handling the negative impacts of not doing anything. That in order to grow stronger and or get better, I need to go through the motions and experience some level of discomfort. Only then can I expect some kind of benefit ...

    I will get nothing if I instead blame the discomfort on the activity itself, knowing full well it's more about myself.

    The type of anxiety I focus on most now, is the one that my body is just saying - "Oh Boy - It's time to adapt!" Typically when I wake up early in the morning -
    Things start to fall into place when I am the one that is in control of my body.

    Exercise is my medicine - As a full on sufferer of Anxiety and even though exercise challenges me on such a lvl, I have found Exercise - especially running - to be the greatest ally to anxiety than anything else. If I go about it right (little bit by little bit) - running is an excellent form of meditation no matter my level of anxiety.

    Now I find listening to my body more rewarding, than to the tune that plays in my head. The more I tune in to my body, the less I hear in my head.

    Little bit by little bit - build it up slowly - your will adapt ... but not if you quit and or give in. It's all in the approach.

    Wishing you well & Welcome to the forum.
    Last edited by Ponder; 04-13-2016 at 03:09 PM.
    Covid19 Violator: Arrest me → https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOwRWYIZZxs&feature=youtu.be

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    I wonder, do you eat something before run, when the blood glucose is down, it is so easy to mistake it for panic attack............
    ''“If you cry because the sun has gone out of your life, your tears will prevent you from seeing the stars.”
    ― Rabindranath Tagore

  7. #7
    Hi Dalia, Thankyou for that. Also I usually don't eat too soon before I run because I get bad indigestion so that ends up being another problem.. lol.
    Last edited by Clare Crighton; 04-15-2016 at 01:11 AM.

  8. #8
    Thankyou Two one and Exatice, I think you're right about the running symptoms mirroring a panic attack, I will try re-wiring my brain haha, lets hope for the best.
    Last edited by Clare Crighton; 04-15-2016 at 01:14 AM.

  9. #9
    Thankyou for your thoughts Ponder, it was an interesting read. I've found that I am quite self concious about people seeing me run, even if no ones around I do feel quite 'exposed' I guess you'd call it.
    I think my anxiety is a mixture of my paranoia and self consciousness, as well as the panic attack/exercise symptoms thing. I envy your control, but I won't be giving up anytime soon, I know anxiety isn't something to run from.. (sadly lol). Besides I have to get my 10,000 steps.. haha.
    Last edited by Clare Crighton; 04-15-2016 at 01:13 AM.



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